JOHANNESBURG â€“ South Africaâ€™s Thriston Lawrence and Spainâ€™s Angel Hidalgo hit the top of the Joburg Open leaderboard just as the weather hit the first round of this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament at Randpark Golf Club on Thursday.
Lawrence was on six under par with one hole to play, while Hidalgo had made it into the clubhouse with his six-under 65 when the siren sounded at 17:05 for dangerous weather. The first round will resume at 6:30am on Friday.
Lawrence and Hidalgo are one stroke clear of Englandâ€™s Ashley Chesters, who managed to complete his first round. And PGA Tour campaigner Dylan Frittelli is only two shots off the lead after his 67.
At the end of a day that began in chilly and windy conditions, Hidalgo was certainly pleased to finish off his round before play was suspended and to give himself a shot in a tournament of this magnitude and so early in the new season.
â€œIt was a lot of fun. This was like my third DP World Tour event in three years, so I was a bit nervous early in my round. But this start means a lot to me. It gives me a lot of confidence. Itâ€™s great to be here and playing with the best, so letâ€™s start the party,â€ he said.
The threat of Frittelli near the top of the leaderboard is a very real one, with the South African more determined than ever to perform well in front of his home fans this week. So much so that heâ€™s taking a far more aggressive approach to this yearâ€™s event.
â€œIâ€™m just going to keep smashing the driver out there. I think if I can hit driver as far as I can itâ€™s going to benefit me. Iâ€™m just going to keep my foot on the gas. In a lot of these Sunshine Tour events Iâ€™ve been a little bit cautious and tried to just keep it in play, but now Iâ€™m just going to go at it full tilt and see where it ends up after 72 holes,â€ he said.
South Africaâ€™s JC Ritchie scored the first hole-in-one of the new season when he aced the par-three 17th on his way to an opening round of one-over-par 72. But he was unlucky to miss out on the Jaguar that is on offer for a hole-in-one on the weekend of this tournament.